Since its debut 25 years ago, LMT’s LAB DAY West has grown from a regional show with 800 attendees to the largest dental laboratory trade show on the West Coast and a truly international event. This year’s show in Garden Grove, CA, drew 1,706 laboratory owners, managers and technicians, hailing from 27 states and 10 other countries.
Whether you have two technicians or 20, there is perhaps no greater challenge in the laboratory than managing your staff. From morale issues to interpersonal conflicts, Lab Owner and Manager respondents to LMT’s Personnel Survey share their strategies for achieving pleasant and productive work environments.
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In our industry, where the economic barriers to entry are relatively low, it’s all too common to hear stories about employees leaving a lab and then winning that lab’s customers, or worse, other staff members. Of course, from the lab owner’s perspective, the former employee didn’t win the customer or staff member; in his mind, he was stolen!
Like some of you, we too have been burned and it’s happened often enough that we were compelled to change the way we deal with new hires. In California, the Department of Corporations allows companies to pursue financial damages...
In our Ask SCORE column, George Obst, certified SCORE mentor and retired CEO and Founding Partner of Dental Services Group, draws upon his 30 years of experience to address questions about building successful and profitable laboratories.
How can I effectively solve recurring problems? In any type of business, unresolved problems can fester, leading to poor quality and service, and may ultimately lead to the failure of the business. To effectively solve a recurring issue, you need to identify and fix its underlying cause—not just the symptom.
To get to the root of the problem, a simple and...
A few months ago, my son turned me on to two television reality shows that I feel have merit for anyone who runs a small business or aspires to: The Profit, on CNBC, showcasing the multi-talented Marcus Lemonis, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Camping World; and Fox’s Kitchen Nightmares, starring restaurateur, Chef Gordon Ramsay. Unfortunately, Ramsay retired this series at the end of 2014. Fortunately, there are 123 episodes you can watch on YouTube.
Say what you will about reality TV; these shows are like business school by proxy.
Without knowing any particular market, Lemonis attempts to...
- April 2014
Henry Schein previewed Labnext, its new cloud-based lab management software specifically designed for digital dentistry. The open system integrates with a wide variety of scanners, design software and popular practice management software packages.
“Labnext is tightly integrated with Henry Schein’s DDX (Digital Dental Exchange). For the first time, the lab has a direct link to the doctor’s management software,” said Sandy MacDonald, Product Manager.
Other key features include:
Case management tools including HIPAA-compliant digital file transfer and storage.
- February 2014
"Let me invite you into the pages of Lab Management Today...our goal is to give you the tools you need to build a better, more profitable, smoothly operating dental laboratory business," wrote Publisher Judy Fishman in Lab Management Today's inaugural issue.
After its first few months, it became clear that LMT was destined to be more than just another industry trade magazine. LMT quickly earned its reputation as the "Go-To" resource for business, marketing and management strategies. We devised several ground-breaking crown experiments, created the much-anticipated biennial Wage and...
- September 2013
On the heels of LMT's September special coverage, The Changing Landscape of Dentistry, about the changing demographics, business models and other factors influencing your client base, the ADA just released an in-depth report, A Profession in Transition: Key Forces Reshaping the Dental Landscape, touching on many of the same topics.
Here are some key findings from the report:
Per capita expenditures are expected to grow over the coming decades, but at a very slow rate. In 2010, per capita dental expenditures were $269. Projected expenditures range from a conservative $277 to an optimistic $325...
Thanks to the advent of digital technology, many laboratory owners and managers are discovering new business models and finding ways to reinvent their businesses and reinvigorate their careers. Here are the stories of three lab owners/managers who have done so using Sirona Dental, Inc.'s CEREC Acquistion Centers, Sirona Connect.
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- April 2013
In the latest installment of Barry D. The Lab Guy, Laboratory Owner Mike Hill explains his strategies for protecting the bottom line.
- February 2012
Have an ingenious marketing strategy? Innovative cost-cutting idea? New way to streamline production? Share your best business boosting strategies with over 3,000 of your peers on THE BRIDGE!
8 Faster, Smarter, Better Management Strategies to Boost Your Business: We Want to Hear Your Management Strategies
Problem: I'd like to implement pre-scheduling to help make our workload more consistent; we're overwhelmed one day and slow the next.
Strategy: Pre-scheduling—where the laboratory, rather than the dentist, determines the turnaround time for each case—helps ensure an even workflow, which minimizes the pressure of deadlines and enables a technician to focus on his product quality.
For example, some laboratories use a manual pre-scheduling system. Each technician has a designated block of time and pre-determined number of units he can handle per day. As cases come in, the office manager...
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3 Faster, Smarter, Better Customer Service Strategies to Boost Your Business: What Are Your Secrets For Excellent Customer Service?
In this economy, working faster, smarter, better is the key to riding out the storm. Here are 3 easy-to-implement tips that can lead to a leaner, meaner, more efficient laboratory operation.
Problem: I want to find a concrete way to reward customers who have remained loyal to us and haven't been lured away by lower prices in this economy.
Strategy: Consider a loyalty rewards program; many laboratories have programs that award dentist-clients cash, credit or even travel credits equal to 2-5% of their total volume. In 2009, Doug Egts, Owner of Esthetic Dental Creations in Rawson, OH, was spurred...
- November 2011
Loyalty rewards programs are an effective way to maintain strong relationships with your top clients, encourage their repeat business, optimize cross-selling opportunities and regulate cash flow.
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- September 2011
Though the number of accredited dental technology programs is dwindling, two programs on opposite coastsâLos Angeles City College and New York City College of Technologyâcontinue to be successful, thanks in part to the dedication of the program direc
Glidewell Laboratories is once again âcrossing the traditional boundaries of dental technologyâ with the opening of its 2,800-sq-ft, state-of-the-art training, education and technology demonstration facility.
- April 2011
In the face of the ongoing credit crunch and sluggish cash flows, some small businesses are turning to bartering--the age-old exchange of goods and services--but with a modern twist.
Here's how it works for a laboratory: you join a barter exchange website and provide restorative services to dentists who are members of the same exchange. In return, you earn credits--or "barter dollars"--you can use to purchase products or services from any other exchange member. In effect, it's like trading a restoration for a paint job in the lab or maintenance on your delivery car.
If your workload is...
Businesses that help integrate the outside personal life of the worker with his or her inside organizational life are aligned companies...
Thanks to advances in CAD/CAM technology, immediate-loading implants and internal connection designs, implants are becoming the restorative dentist's first choice in tooth replacement.
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By outsourcing the human resources functions of their businesses to professional employer organizations (PEO), lab owners gain a valuable partner with personnel management expertise...
What does it take to be a successful laboratory manager? Technicians who have transitioned into management positions share their real-world perspectives on how to make it.